By SHERI RADFORD
It’s hard not to be a runner in a city with routes as spectacular as the seawall and Stanley Park. Whether you’re a newbie jogger or an Olympic-level sprinter, Vancouver has much to offer
Canada’s largest 10K road race, the Vancouver Sun Run (pictured; Apr. 27) attracts more than 48,000 walkers, joggers, runners and wheelchair athletes. The route showcases breathtaking views of Stanley Park, English Bay, False Creek and, off in the distance, snow-capped mountains. A longer race that also makes full use of the scenery is the BMO Vancouver Marathon (May 4), which Forbes magazine recently named one of the world’s top 10 marathons worth travelling for. Of particular note? An abundance of both on-course entertainment and spectacular shoreline views. Those not ready to go the full distance can choose a more manageable half marathon or 8K instead.
Running on the wet West Coast requires adaptable clothes that dry quickly. Local company Lululemon (pictured) makes a range of lightweight wicking clothing with anti-stink panels; many pieces include reflectors, thumbholes and zip pockets. The GT technical sports collection from New Zealand’s Icebreaker includes ultra-lightweight styles made from fine merino wool, ideal for warm-weather exercise.
Figuring out the best routes in a new city can be challenging. Both Lululemon and The Running Room offer free running sessions every week, so you can learn where to go and make new friends at the same time.
Want to turn your favourite running shoes into slip-ons? Replace your shoelaces with a set of stretchy Lock Laces from Nathan, and you’ll never again have to deal with laces coming untied mid-race. At New Balance.
Don’t dismiss Olga Kotelko as a little old lady. At 95, the spry Vancouverite still regularly competes in 11 track-and-field events, including sprinting, long jump, shot put and javelin—and she holds more than two dozen world records, despite not starting training until age 77. Fellow Vancouver resident Bruce Grierson became so fascinated with the retired schoolteacher that he wrote What Makes Olga Run? (Random House; $29.95). Following Kotelko to track meets and research facilities over several years, the book tries to unlock the secrets to living a long and healthy life. If Kotelko’s example inspires you to get active, pick up a copy of Ben Kaplan’s Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now: The Rogue’s Guide to Running the Marathon (Greystone Books; $19.95), which outlines a week-by-week program to go from couch potato to marathon competitor in one year. It also features heart-pumping exercise-music recommendations from 29 artists as varied as will.i.am, Marilyn Manson, Dolly Parton and yet another Vancouverite, Michael Bublé. At local bookstores.
UPCOMING RACES & RUNS
Apr. 27 Vancouver Sun Run
May 4 BMO Vancouver Marathon
Jun. 7 Whistler Half Marathon
Jun. 22 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K
Jul. 5 The Underwear Affair
Aug. 23 SeaWheeze Half Marathon
Sep. 14 Terry Fox Run
Oct. 5 CIBC Run for the Cure
Oct. 26 Rock ’n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon and Cunningham Seawall 10K
Nov. 16 New Balance Fall Classic